Michigan lawyer gives an overview of available workers’ compensation benefits and explains how to maximize what the insurance company must pay.
A woman recently contacted our office looking to get reimbursement for sick time that she was forced to use after sustaining a concussion at work. Unfortunately, we had to explain that she does not qualify for any lost wages under workers’ compensation since it was only two missed days. She would have needed to be disabled for at least seven days before entitlement begins.
Getting hurt on-the-job turns lives upside down. Many of our clients never thought about workers’ compensation until they find themselves in a difficult situation. Explaining how benefits are limited and what problems might occur in the future is not a fun conversation.
Our experience shows that settlement is usually the best option when a disabled employee cannot return to his or her job. This allows people get back on their feet and move on with their lives. Settlement is based upon what the insurance company believes it will have to pay in the future. Here is how to maximize what the insurance company pays. Please remember that every case is different, and it is best to speak with an experienced attorney about your individual situation.
Disabled employees are supposed to receive 80% of their after-tax average weekly wage. This is calculated using the highest 39 paid weeks before getting hurt. Overtime, bonuses, discontinued fringe benefits, and lost income from other jobs should be included in the calculation. A good rule of thumb is 60% of gross income should be paid.
Wage loss benefits do not start until an employee has been disabled for seven days. Employees who are disabled for more than two weeks can recover lost wages from the start.
Watch out for insurance companies who say you are only partially disabled and reduce weekly checks based upon residual wage earning capacity. This can be challenged through a good-faith job search and vocational testimony.
Payment of medical is an important benefit under workers’ compensation. It covers hospital visits, doctor appointments, physical therapy, prescription medications, surgical procedures, and other items necessary to relieve the effects of a workplace injury. Mileage to and from medical appointments should also be paid.
Attendant care is available for people who need help with activities of daily living. Family members can get paid up to 56 hours per week at market rates for providing assistance. This can be a combination of people including but not limited to: spouses, children, uncles, aunts, nephews, and nieces. We have seen cases where attendant care is more valuable than weekly wage loss benefits.
Some disabled employees cannot return to their jobs and they need to be retrained. Others want to go back to school and find a new career. Michigan law provides for up to two years of vocational rehabilitation. This can be in the form of tuition reimbursement.
Insurance companies use vocational rehabilitation as a weapon to reduce payment of wage loss benefits. Watch out for one-time evaluations by so-called experts who are hired to say other jobs exist. It is possible to challenge these unfair assessments and seek payment for a rehabilitation plan that has a likelihood of success.
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (844) 201-9497 for a free consultation today.
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